Hectic preparations on at Chamundi foothill
Mysuru; Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will lay the foundation stone for a Planetarium — Cosmology Education and Research Training Centre or COSMOS — in the University of Mysore (UoM) campus at the foot of Chamundi Hill tomorrow (Mar. 6) at 11 am. Hectic preparations are on at the foothill.
Besides the Finance Minister, a host of officials from her Department and from the Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bengaluru, are expected to attend the event along with the officials from the University.
The planetarium will come up in a 3-acre land and the land has been earmarked and cleaned where giant German Tents have been laid. The location abuts the Welcome Arch of Chamundi Hill. The 22-acre campus at the foothill has been named Sri Jayachamaraja Wadiyar campus.
This land was granted to the University by the State Government in lieu of the land that has been handed over to All India Institute of Speech and Hearing (AIISH) inside the Manasagangothri campus. Mysore University will be the first University to have a Planetarium attached to it though there are over 40 planetariums in the country including one in Bengaluru.
MoU with Indian Institute of Astrophysics
Last December, Mysore University Vice-Chancellor Prof G. Hemantha Kumar signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Prof. Annapurni Subramaniam, Director of Indian Institute of Astrophysics to set up the planetarium.
As per the MoU, Indian Institute of Astrophysics will fully fund the cost of construction and many outreach programmes and periodic lectures on astronomy, astrophysics and allied subjects will be held.
A science research, education hub
In a press release, the University authorities have stated that the planetarium, educational hub, science education outreach and scientific collaborator activities, will enrich the students with science knowledge. The planetarium will surely bring stars and other celestial objects closer to the students while facilitating experts to conduct experiments in the field. It will have the distinction of being the largest science centre in Mysuru region.
Additional support is being provided by various departments and organisations such as Department of Science and Technology, Department of Atomic Energy, Department Space etc.
Real-time planetarium with playback engine
COSMOS will host India’s first planetarium with a Digistar 7 system and a Domex screen. This unique real-time planetarium with a playback engine will make it an extremely powerful tool for education and training for students as well as teachers.
A comprehensive education and public outreach program will be an integral part of the COSMOS project. The Digistar system will allow the university to display real-time data from observatories to students within the dome.
The University will organise regular teaching courses for school and college students, training on processing astronomical data, coding, and hands-on experiments with systematic documentation of astronomy heritage in Karnataka as well as South India.
In addition, summer and winter schools for students, teacher training, sky watching sessions, and collaborations with science groups in the State, combined with the advantage of being housed inside a campus, will make COSMOS an unique project in the country.